What do you do when your head is pounding, but you don’t want to take medicine? Try these natural remedies for headache relief! As a sufferer of chronic headaches for more than half my life, I know how debilitating they can be. Regardless of whether you experience chronic migraines or even just the occasional sinus headache, there is only so much pain you can take before you need to find some sort of relief.
Over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and naproxen mask your pain, but if you suffer from frequent headaches, you may not want to take these medications on a regular basis, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. What natural remedies exist for headache relief? Check out a few of our favorite ideas!
Related –> 7 Home Remedies to Soothe a Sore Throat
Natural Remedies for Headache Relief
Affiliate links included below. As always, please talk to your doctor before using any herbs or supplements, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition. This is not meant to be taken as medical advice.
- Water, water, water! Many of us do not drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, and dehydration can cause headaches. Before you try anything else, drink 16 to 32 ounces of water and relax for 20-30 minutes. In some cases, restoring your hydration is all it will take to make your headache go away.
- Visit the chiropractor. About every 2 weeks, I realize I have a constant dull pain at the nape of my neck. When I go in to see my chiropractor, inevitably the same 2 vertebrae in my neck are out of alignment. With a quick adjustment, the pain is immediately relieved and the residual pain I had in my forehead is also gone. When vertebrae are misaligned, the nerves that pass through that area of your spine are affected – misalignment in the neck can be associated with headaches and sinus trouble.
- Essential oils. There has been a huge rise recently in the use of essential oils, and for a good reason – aromatherapy can be traced back to 3500 BC! If you experience tension headaches, try rubbing peppermint oil across your forehead and on your temples. Lavender oil can be used with stress headaches, and studies have shown it is also effective at reducing the pain of a migraine. Apply lavender oil to the back of your neck, temples, and inside of the wrists, or add lavender oil to a bath or use a diffuser.
- Cut out or limit caffeine. I love coffee, and I drink more than I should. I get a headache if I don’t have caffeine, but I also know I will get one if I have too much. I have learned what the right balance is for me (although some days staying awake is more important than avoiding a headache). If you suffer migraines, caffeine may be a trigger. Pay close attention to your caffeine intake and the onset of headaches. If you believe the two could be related, try going caffeine-free for at least a week (it may take 3-4 days for the caffeine-withdrawal headaches to stop).
- Chew some gum. We’re talking minty gum, not Bubble Yum. For the same reason peppermint, essential oil may help with a headache, give mint gum a try. If you experience nausea as a result of your headaches, you may also find that the mint will help soothe your upset stomach.
- Keep a food diary. While you may not have a food allergy, you could have a food sensitivity. For a week or two, track everything you eat and drink and note the time. Then, note when a headache comes on. Common food sensitivities that may trigger headaches include MSG, sugar, dairy, gluten, and chocolate. Even if you don’t entirely cut out foods that cause headaches for you, at least you’ll know what to expect!
- Massage your sinuses. If you get sinus headaches, you know that sometimes the pressure is unbearable. Using your index fingers in a circular motion, massage your sinus cavity just inside both eyebrows near the bridge of your nose. After 20-30 seconds switch to the hollow area outside the bridge of your nose at the inside edges of your cheekbones. The massage may hurt quite a bit at first, but it will help to loosen the congestion that could be causing your pain. Check out the video below for how to massage your sinuses.
- Take your vitamins. – Studies have shown that Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and magnesium may help reduce the frequency and possibly duration of migraines. Also, increasing your levels of Vitamin D may impact how you perceive pain. Make sure to talk with your doctor regarding what dosage is safe for you if you are interested in supplementing.
While many of us suffer from regular headaches, we don’t have to! Making some lifestyle changes such as increasing water consumption, limiting trigger foods, and managing stress may help reduce or even eliminate your headaches.